By Jon Bogart
Austin is a unique microcosm in the gigantic U.S. state of Texas. No oil wells, badlands, cattle ranches, military bases, 10-gallon hats, or any other preconceptions that had forged Texas’ identity from Edna Ferber’s “Giant” to J. R. Ewing’s Southfork. No… Austin is the state capital that in no way resembles the culture and mind-set of the rest of Texas.
Welcome to Austin, a hip, future-forward city. It’s a tech hotspot, a paradise of nightlife that turns Sixth Street into a sensory cacophony of clubs, lounges and live music venues. It’s fun well into the wee hours every weekend, with plenty of action during the week as well.
Austin is a city that’s noted for its modern architecture with construction cranes dotting the landscape. It’s also a city with identifiable regions, like South Congress Ave, not to be mistaken for Congress Ave, the main artery running through downtown, north of the river, a.k.a. Lady Bird Lake. It’s on South Congress where local shops that have been part of Austin “forever” offer a great day of discovering a wide variety of hip shopping and dining experiences.
Austin is the home of the University of Texas, whose football and basketball programs are legendary, winning national championships, popularizing a unique Burnt Orange color and the “hook ‘em horns” war cry. The campus is directly behind the Capitol Building and beckons for a full day of exploration.
For an adventurous day check out the Rainey Street district. Grab a quick bite or linger and kick back in one of the many bungalow-style bars.
As a matter of fact, Austin does about everything in a signature style, all of the time. From the nearly 200 live music venues – making it the “Live Music Capital of the World” – to the trendy “street eats” springing up all over town, if you’re looking for something different, Austin is where it’s at. “Keep it Weird” is Austin’s slogan, but you have to experience the weird ethos in reality to really understand it.
The epicenter of action is the Second Street District, where the hotel of choice is the JW Marriott on the corner of Congress Ave and Second Street – where everything Austin has to offer is within walking distance. The JW Marriott is the hippest hotel on Second Street, the flagship brand of Marriott properties worldwide. See the Mythical Griffin logo and you know you’re ensured an upscale Marriott experience.
The JW Marriott Austin lives up to expectations and delivers even more. First, the building itself. It’s the largest JW Marriott in the Americas and the second-largest in the world. The site architecture is based upon a “live outside” design concept with its distinct entities blended together to deliver a full experiential package. The art behind the front desk, comprised of five layers of glass, represents a Texas cactus under a microscope (pictured). The pillars throughout the lobby are made of Texas limestone and the designs on the floor and ceiling of the main lobby are based on Austin topography.
Glass panes in the corner dining room are a depiction of Armadillo skin, and the fireplace sculpture represents bats flying from under the Congress Ave. bridge (pictured). Those bats are an integral part of the Austin environment, a colony of 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that put on a nightly show of dynamic aerial flight. They consume 20-30,000 pounds of insects on each night flight, helping reduce
nuisance insects in Austin in a wonderful, mutually beneficial relationship. The bats are so much a part of Austin that there are bars, restaurants and other venues on Sixth Street that pay homage to the creatures. And they are celebrated in sculpture at the JW Marriott.
With 1,012 elegant, oversized guest rooms, countless amenities and a superior location near the best entertainment options, the JW Marriott is a traveler’s dream. The high floors deliver postcard views of the city and are stylish enough to be reminiscent of a custom home.
It’s easy to keep up with a fitness routine at the JW Marriott, as it offers several exceptional wellness facilities exclusive to Austin. These include a Texas-sized state-of-the-art fitness center, rooftop pool and an award-winning spa. Between treatments, guests are invited to unwind in the spa lounge with a hot cup of tea or retreat to a privacy pod to zone out and unwind. The heated rooftop pool is much more than just a place to swim; it’s a place to mix, mingle, see and be seen, and take in beautiful Austin views of Lady Bird Lake and the Texas State Capitol.
Options abound in Austin, but you need look no further than the JW Marriott to enjoy authentic, regional Italian cuisine served in a warm, comfortable setting at Osteria Pronto. And then enjoy a dinner at Corner, which offers a wide variety of creative dishes and a clubby vibe. Corner prides itself on a diverse menu with ingredients from local Texas markets, farms, ranches and distilleries.
The JW Marriott Austin is the destination of choice in for business and leisure. Visit once, and you’ll be making plans for a return trip. Book now for next year’s South by Southwest.
Visit jwmarriottaustin.com for more information.
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